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Episode 198: Magicka

This week, Gary and Kole conjure up some mixed praise for Magicka, a student project turned indie darling. But here's the hangup: while the core idea of this game is unlike anything we've seen before, its execution falls flat at almost every turn. The writing and humor don't add much to the proceedings, and the game is still a technical mess seven years after its release. So, yeah, the mixture leans pretty heavily toward the negative. Someone make a better game out of this core idea!


Episode 197: A Way Out

Ain't no co-op like A Way Out co-op because A Way Out co-op is mandatory. Back in 2013, Hazelight Studios developed a charming and affecting experimental adventure game called Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons. Five years later, it wanted to continue exploring its pet theme of togetherness, so it created A Way Out. Following the lead of games like Heavy Rain and Until Dawn, it's a cinematic adventure game with one major gimmick: you must play it with someone else. The story is told in...


Episode may2018: Listener Responses: May 2018

Let's hear what you think about Call of Juarez: Gunslinger, Doom 2016, Bayonetta, and Arcades!


Episode 196: Arcades Revisited

We talked about arcades almost six years ago, and a lot has happened since then. So it's time to go back. For this episode, we each played three games and prepared to talk about them. Spanning several eras and genres, we wanted to learn why arcade games are different and talk about how their design differs from home games. Here are the titles we discuss: TRON. Dig Dug. Captain America and the Avengers. Spider-Man: The Video Game. Area 51. Aliens: Extermination.


Episode 195: Bayonetta

Fly me to the moon and let me play Bayonetta, a crazy over-the-top character action game that is unabashedly all about style. This is a Patreon backer requested episode, and we were super happy to visit Platinum's breakout hit. Bayonetta is a very important character to the recent history of video games, inspiring both affection and controversy. Listen in to hear us talk about her first adventure, and hit on the points where it stumbles (I'm looking at you, motorcycle and missile levels).


Episode 194: Doom (2016)

The winner of our remakes/reboots poll is all about ripping/tearing. The 2016 version of Doom, neé DOOM 4, is all about pace and rhythm. It's also all about gleefully tapping into the spirit of mayhem found in the early entries of this series, and updating it for modern play sensibilities. The result is one of the best-designed games we've played for the show.


Episode 193: Call of Juarez: Gunslinger

The story is in the telling, and who cares if you stretch or fib a little bit? That's the conceit at the center of Call of Juarez: Gunslinger that raises it above its predecessors. It also raises it above its own gameplay, which is firmly in the "arcadey shooter" category. It's stylish as all hell, and it bends to fit the narration in exciting and entertaining ways. A few times during the episode, we decry that Gunslinger was pulled from digital stores. In the time between when we recorded...


Episode april2018: Listener Responses: April 2018 (Bioshock 2, Minerva's Den, Ultima Underworld)

Let's see what you think of Bioshock 2, Minerva's Den, and Ultima Underworld!


Episode 194: Ultima Underworld: The Stygian Abyss

We can think of 0451 reasons to love this grandaddy of the modern immersive sim. We go all the way back to 1992, before Looking Glass was called Looking Glass, and see where one of our favorite genres of games began. Ultima Underworld is a shockingly friendly game for its vintage, and it's absolutely worth playing to get more perspective on games as a whole. A huge thanks to special guest Justin Gutt for backing us on Patreon and getting us to take a leap of faith to play this game.


Episode 193: Minerva's Den

It's another in our series about great expansions, and a precursor to even more games that we really love. Bioshock 2: Minerva's Den looks and plays quite a bit like the main game, but the details are there. You can see in the way the world is laid out and the story unfolds that this is made by the people who would go on to make Gone Home and Tacoma. We recommend that you go play it.


Episode 192: Bioshock 2

Daddy's home, and he's pissed. People don't regard Bioshock 2 as well as they do the original, and that's a shame. What this sequel lacks in novelty, it gains by being the most mechanically satisfying entry in this popular series. And while people don't go nuts over its story, it does some very satisfying things with the trappings of Rapture. Listen to this lengthy episode for some effusive apologia about an unfairly forgotten game.


Episode 191: Listener Responses: March 2018

Let's hear what you think about Ikaruga, Jamestown, The Witcher 3: Hearts of Stone, and The Legend of Zelda: The Breath of the Wild! What a month.


Episode 190: The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (Part 2)

Our discussion of Breath of the Wild continues as we talk about the main quest of the game, and its side quests. Special thanks again to John Hurst for being a guest on this episode, and for his continued support.


Episode 189: The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (Part 1)

It reinvented the series, breathing fresh new life into a stale formula. Listen in as we talk about the mechanics and generalities of the game, because there are plenty of them. Special thanks to special guest John Hurst for his support on Patreon, and for finally getting us to play this game.


Episode 188: The Witcher 3: Hearts of Stone

Let's make a deal. Just meet me at the crossroads. Following through on our promise to cover all of the Witcher 3 content, this episode brings the best game expansion we've ever played. A routine Witcher contract drags Geralt into the middle of a conflict between two terrible people. On one side, you've got Olgierd von Everec, a noble-turned brigand who can never die. On the other, Gaunter O'Dimm, a vastly powerful being who grants wishes at a price. Seriously, go and play this. The...


Episode 187: Ikaruga / Jamestown:

We said we wouldn't do any more split episodes under the new format for the show that began last year, but we didn't anticipate Ikaruga. Shoot 'em up games are an arcade mainstay that have developed an intense and passionate cult, and Ikaruga is one of the most revered entries in the genre. But it's also incredibly hostile and doesn't teach you how to play it. Faced with the possibility of coming into the episode bewildered about the shmup genre, we added Jamestown onto the docket... it's...


Listener Responses: February 2018 (Mech Month)

Mech month was a lot of fun, and you turned out in force to share your thoughts about these games. Next month we're covering Ikaruga, Jamestown, The Witcher 3: Hearts of Stone, and the Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.


Episode 185: Titanfall 2

Will you learn to love a weapon? No, no you won't. However, you will love the way Titanfall 2 feels to play. The way it handles shooting and movement is something to behold. Though the story leaves a lot to be desired, the game's standout levels and breezy pace made this a perfect conclusion to Mech Month.


Episode 184: Armored Core: For Answer

Before Souls, FromSoft made Armored Core. And this is our first real exposure to it... and it turns out it's very good. Despite outward appearances, there's a good deal of variety in the Armored Core series, with For Answer being the fastest and most action-oriented among them. But it retains that important element of mecha customization that lets you tailor your character to the situation and your play preferences. Listen in, and see if this forgotten game is for you.


Episode 183: Jumping Flash!

Let's take it way back to the earliest days of 3D platforming. It's everyone's favorite failed mascot: Robbit! (Pronunciation yet to be determined). The story of Jumping Flash! is kind of sad, because it nailed so much about how to make a platformer feel good... then just kind of went away. It's an evolutionary dead end that lives as a footnote about the PlayStation, and little more. But you shouldn't ignore it.